What do you think of Apple device pricing?

appleWell, I am a fan of Apple’s designs, and the craftsmanship of their H/W. I am also a fan of their strictly controlled ecosystem which offers high stability in most situations. But I am not a fan of their pricing.

I mean, well, this is 2015, and still Apple has 16GB models of iPhones, iPads in circulation. We will have to see if this trend is to continue in their upcoming devices, but it is indeed curious to see how a 32GB device is missing from the line up. However, a 64GB device is available for a huge asking price, effectively putting that much gap between it and its 16GB counterpart. I would ask an Apple fan to come up with any legitimate replies to that, but IMHO anyone who wants an Apple device but cannot afford one can scrape a 16GB model, with Apple hoping he will upgrade after having storage problems with it.

Honestly, one thing I hated about this year’s WWDC was when Apple was showing the slide on OS upgrades and how it was comparing the uptake of OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 to that of Windows 8.1 & Android 5.x. I would like to differ. Seriously, Apple, you are pushing updates free to all of your devices, and Windows updates are paid ones. Only a small percentile of Android devices are treated to upgrades, and while Apple continues to manufacture and maintain its H/W & S/W, Android & Windows devices do not enjoy that privilege. And then there’s that matter of affordability. When someone can afford an Apple device, he can also afford high speed internet to go with it. But while an ubiquitous network of high speed internet access is taken for granted in some places, the majority of the world does not have such privilege. So, suddenly, even small updates seem impossible.

While Apple elaborates on its designs, it does not elaborate the capabilities of its H/W (for which it demands such exorbitant prices), in quantifiable ways. Apple enjoys the position of the most valuable IT company in the whole wide world, with an unbelievably high market cap, and why has not any other company been able to do this? Because Apple exacts the highest profit from each device it sells, period. Apple says this is required for the huge amount of R&D it does. But is there no innovation outside Apple? How do they manage this? Why does Apple, with this huge amount of R&D muscle, have to resort to acquisitions then?

In recent times, all the features Apple ‘innovates’ H/W or S/W-wise, are already present elsewhere. IMHO all the innovation Apple manages is in the Design department, Johny Ive take a bow. Apple is unparalleled when it comes to design. But just as Steve Jobs’ enigma was what brought Apple to what it is today, it is Ive’s vision which still propels Apple’s legendary design department, and there is indeed nothing I can say against. Every time Apple comes up with a new design, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘only Apple can do that’! But that’s that, when it comes to the H/W department, there are no surprises.

You get H/W which looks amazing but when you put it to its paces, and it stutters, you compromise because after all, it’s Apple. I mean, the Macbook Pro(Early 2015) range starts from $1299. Just look at what other options you have in that price range, and check out the H/W these devices offer. I dare say they will be leaps and bounds better than your Mac.

To conclude, I would like to say I do not detest Apple devices, it’s just that a company must not get greedy. While Apple makes amazing devices, and scores of Apple fans worldwide lap them up each time something new comes up, the margins that the company exacts each of those times will ultimately take its toll. While Microsoft lost its way under Steve Ballmer, the new Microsoft under Satya Nadella is as a phoenix that rose from its ashes, fresh, forward-thinking, ready to accept challenges, and most importantly, ready for business. Google, on the other hand, is a company which still makes losses on its Android platform, but guess what? All those iOS features that Apple announced this WWDC are already taken for granted by Android users. An Apple user may change his wallpaper to change his phone’s or tablet’s appearance, but that’s all he can do. Android is much more customizable. How far is it then, when people sit up and actually start noticing what they are sacrificing and push past the hype?

Jurassic World – A Review

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Jurassic World pays a lot of homages to Jurassic Park. So let’s get that out of the way! This movie wastes no time going over other subplots but takes you directly to the Park (or is it the World now?!)

You have all watched the trailers, and you all know that this kid and his brother go on a trip to Jurassic World, and turns out that they are both nephews of Claire Dennings (Bryce Dallas Howard), the Park Operations Manager. This movie takes place on Isla Nublar where Jurassic Park was staged. The old park also makes a fleeting appearance in this movie. Irrfan (Simon Masrani) is one of the richest men on the Earth and he practically owns InGen, and he is the one who still has the dream of John Hammond alive in his eyes. Well, we are greeted with lots of (Samsung) displays in (ahem…!) the ‘Samsung Innovation Centre’, and when the camera zooms in on a kid brushing dust out of dinosaur bones, God, I miss Sam Neill & Laura Dern! Mercedes has become synonymous with this franchise and no surprises there. All the 4 wheelers in the Park are Mercs. Chris Pratt likes Coca Cola, but probably you do too! So, yeah, lots of product placements, but none too awkward(I still try putting that Oracle branding in a media truck in Iron Man 3).

Soon, we are greeted by a few people in suits and, no, while they are not lawyers, they are the PR team from Verizon who want to sponsor an animal, and (drumroll!!!) we are greeted to the Indominus Rex. People who are on Verizon, be warned, not the least due to the fact that the Park has bad reception!

Anyways, with that out of the way, we are introduced to Star Lord (oops), I meant Chris Pratt, who is sort of the ringmaster for raptors, and then hell (or should I say Indominus Rex) breaks loose.

The movie is a fun ride but I need to make a few observations. Kids nowadays get scared easily compared to those from ’93. I mean, yeah, they are acting, but Jurassic Park had much more thrills and suspense than this one. We are reminded this is a sequel, sometimes when they turn up the original Jurassic Park theme, sometimes by familiar faces like Henry Wu.

Last time, Dennis Nedry (the computer guy), had a nefarious agenda. This time also, there is a subplot, which opens the storyline to possible sequels, but does not really go anywhere in this movie.

It is a lot to demand of a movie when you put it alongside a movie that you grew up loving, but Jurassic World tries, and partly succeeds, in holding its own.

The kids at the plex enjoyed the movie, and I dare say I would too, if I hadn’t watched Jurassic Park first. And yeah, if any of the people who worked on this movie are reading this, I do prefer the T. Rex to the Indominus. The T. Rex still rules!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North – A Review

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Harry August can’t die…no, actually he can, but he is born again after he dies. He is not the only one. Apparently, there is this ‘Cronus Club‘, which is made up of people like him. These people like to just be born and die without changing anything, cos, you know, that would seriously mess up the timeline. But one of these lives, there is this little girl who comes up to him on his death bed, and tells him that she is also like him and that the end of the world was speeding up.

There was someone who was introducing technologies from the future in the past which was bringing the end of the world closer than the usual. And now Harry must find out who that is…there were a few flaws with the story but you get caught up in it and it won’t let go. Go read this!